The Four Seasons in Limassol, Cyprus has been open since 1993 and is independently owned and operated by Muskita Hotels Ltd. It’s a Five Star deluxe property with 304 rooms, 6 restaurants, 4 bars, and extensive conference facilities, Shiseido Spa, a full range of sports and fitness facilities and a shopping area with exclusive boutiques, watches and jewelry. The Hotel is situated on its own sandy beach, which has been awarded with the Blue Flag (a symbol of cleanliness and safety awarded by the European Community) and is 8 kilometers East of Limassol city center.
The Four Seasons’ management is constantly looking for effective ways to build strong relations with its customers and optimize sales programs. The Hotel’s website is its important marketing tool that helps the property to attract and retain elite guests from all over the World.
Mr. Nick Aristou, the property’s Executive Director, decided to enhance the website with an online business chat solution. “Our objective was to make it easy for our customers to navigate the website,” says Mr. Aristou. “Also, we wanted to convert as many visitors into customers as possible by making it easy for them to complete bookings.”
Mr. Aristou, who has a strong technology background, did a thorough review of available products, including such market leaders as LivePerson. However, none of them matched Four Season’s specific needs. The main limitations were the lack of multilingual support, patchy compatibility with tablet users and absence of robust archival features.
Then Mr. Aristou came across LiveWebAssist, a chat solution deployed on the IceWarp site, and realized it was the perfect match. He decided to try it out on the Four Season’s site, but then found out it was not the final release yet. Still, Mr. Aristou went ahead and launched LiveWebAssist at Four Seasons’ webpage, assigning three operators to interact with customers.
From the very beginning, the Four Season’s customer service team was making the most of LiveWebAssist’s multilingual interface and Knowledgebase support features to interact with customers in English, Greek and Russian.. The property’s sales and marketing team started to see LiveWebAssist’s effect almost immediately – the bookings increased.
“LiveWebAssist contributed a lot to this on many occasions,” says Mr. Aristou. “Our analysis showed that customers booked because they were given real-time explanations through the chat service.”
Four Season’s technology team also liked LiveWebAssist’s capability to recognize returning Website visitors.
“The excellent feature helps an operator to resume the conversation from the same spot where it was ended or interrupted,” says Mr. Aristou. “That makes users spend on average 7-8 minutes on the site, a very high indicator.”
In an approach radically different form other chat products, LiveWebAsisst supports the InLine no-flash chat architecture, eliminating pop-up windows. This design allows more visitors to initiate chat sessions, because they don’t have to deal with popup blockers and assures usability for visitors from tablets like iPad or Android.
Additionally, this option gives actionable information about the visitors’ behavior.
“The operators can tell exactly where the user is on the site, so they can offer them immediate assistance, tell them where to go and answer questions with a high degree of relevancy,” says Mr. Aristou. “It’s a very useful feature.”
LiveWebAssist’s analytical capabilities helped the hotel to optimize its Internet marketing strategy.
“LiveWebAssist analytics capabilities are very good,” notes Mr. Aristou. “They are helping us to locate sources our customers are coming from. It’s a very effective tool, especially when used in conjunction with Google analytics.”
Another feature Four Seasons’ team found practical is LiveWebAssist Knowledgebase. At any point of the conversation, it allows to insert pre-approved messages (such as terms and conditions, cancellation policy, etc.) as well as URLs and graphics with a single click.
“It has been very useful, we have almost three pages of knowledgebase content now,” notes Mr. Aristou. “The option provides more professional outlook and helps to standardize responses. Operators don’t have to think about how to phrase them. In the near future, we are planning to extend the knowledgebase with images and, possibly, videos.”
According to Four Seasons’ technology team estimates, the training and ramp-up process was painless.
“The functionality of the program is simple, anybody who can use a social chat program can get accustomed to LiveWebAssist very easily,” notes Mr. Aristou.
For the support function, Four Seasons team used LiveWebAssist Direct Chat Technology, the VIP connection that gives dedicated access to key IceWarp support personnel. This option makes it possible to reach the important contacts no matter where they are – at their desktop, off-site, or on the road.
“The VIP link option has been very useful, and IceWarp support team was very prompt,” says Mr. Aristou.
Four Seasons is now planning to expand LiveWebAssist functionality.
“We are considered using it on mobile devices, and, possibly, integrating the solution with a new CRM system,” says Mr. Aristou.
In the future, the property is thinking about hiring more operators and starting to use LiveWebAssist automated translation functionality.
According to Mr. Aristou’s estimates, LiveWebAssist was showing compelling ROI from the day it was implemented.
“Just from my own observation, from the number of bookings that have been converted directly through LiveWebAssist, I can say that it has paid for itself almost immediately” says Mr. Aristou he would definitely recommend LiveWebAssist to other organizations in the hospitality industry.
“Selling hotel rooms is always a complex matter,” says Mr. Aristou. “Usually, hotel bookings for five+ star hotels are a very high-value item. It’s not a $10-20 purchase from Amazon. They are usually $5,000-6,000 per transactionand there are many issues for potential customers to understand before they actually commit to book. Anything that can give a customer greater confidence and prompt him to make a decision to buy is very valuable. LiveWebAssist gives us exactly that.”
Sean Douglas, head service delivery for American Express Global Business Travel's APAC operations says the company is seeing real benefits from its strategy or encouraging home-based customer service agents.
Douglas told Human Capital Magazine that some 75% of the division's staff are now working from home. "When a business traveller phones American Express Global Business Travel for assistance, they might be surprised to know that the counsellor they are speaking with is located on the Gold Coast, in Yass or in Cervantes in Western Australia," he said. "This is because the majority of our travel counsellors have gradually been moving from our offices to a virtual or home-based work environment."
Douglas said the initiative has increased the company's travel counsellor job satisfaction, improved their work-life balance, increased customer satisfaction and reduced overheads. "These are all great benefits, but truthfully, ones that we predicted and have been well-documented previously. The real surprises for us have been the noticeable increase in productivity and our ability to attract great talent."
The founders of e-commerce site Wowo have developed a customisable customer service platform for travelers to China.
The travel booking platform, dubbed Jetbay, promises a better and more immersive experience to international travelers. The site offers 300 bookable routes throughout China that are fully customisable, and travelers can build their own tour or have Jetbay recommend personalised routes based on their browsing history, Facebook data and provided preferences.
The service was developed because Jetbay believed tourists generally weren't getting the full experience China can provide, said Jetbay's COO James Tan. "We just want to give people a favorable image of traveling in China," Tan said. "We hear of horror stories of people going overseas -whether it's China or some other country - and they have a horrible experience, whether it's not getting home or not getting what they sign up for."
eXtra Increases Operational Efficiency and Cements Customer Service Excellence
Khobar, Saudi Arabia, May 21th, 2015 – Altitude Software, a global provider of omnichannel solutions to deliver great customer experiences, today announced that eXtra, Saudi Arabia's largest consumer electronics and home appliance retailer, has implemented a world-class contact center to improve operational efficiency and customer experience.
The Khobar-based site is powered by the Altitude uCI 8 solution, providing eXtra with advanced IP contact center features including a voice portal, unified centralized monitoring and queuing, routing and reporting solutions. eXtra provides over 13 million customers with more than 12,000 products in stores across 23 cities in the Kingdom. The company was recently named as one of Saudi Arabia's top 100 brands, in recognition of its exceptional growth and sustained commercial success.Building on a relationship of trust
"Providing world-class service is a key part of the eXtra value proposition,'' commented Omar Mugharbel, Marketing Director, eXtra. "Our objective is to be the pioneer in providing consumers with a true multichannel experience in consumer electronics and home appliance. As such, eXtra is driven to exceed customer expectations every single day, with every single interaction,'' he added.
eXtra has expanded its in-home maintenance and repair services for electronics, home appliances and air conditioning. Customers who experience a problem with their electronics and home appliances can now interact with the Altitude-powered "eXtra Care" service without having to leave their homes. eXtra's contact center offers anytime anywhere computer maintenance, remote assistance over the phone, and mobile setup with total back-up and maintenance through its trademark "Force 24/7".Wowing customers
"The response from customers to our in-home maintenance and repair services has been overwhelming," commented Hussam Ibrahim, CRM Director, eXtra, "A dedicated, trained service team and a world-class contact center have been put in place to meet customers' needs and expectations. We are building on a relationship of trust, which differentiates us from our competitors and makes us the one-stop-shop for all our customers' consumer electronics needs."
With the new Altitude-powered Contact Center system in place, eXtra is able to intelligently distribute customer interactions, provide customer self-service, automate outbound dialling for satisfaction surveys, as well as improve quality management. Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) have access to all relevant customer data, enabling them to view a customer's entire relationship with eXtra and to quickly identify answers to their questions.
"We're very excited to be working with eXtra to develop their customer service experience. eXtra has a forward thinking approach, and this is the ideal time for us to be partnering with such an important retailer, as they continue to grow and emerge as regional leaders," said Riadh Boukhris, Altitude Software MENA President.
Altitude Software delivers a robust, modular omnichannel solution that helps companies unify all customer interactions and become more customer-centric. The European vendor boasts over 1100 customers in five continents and provides a regional base in Dubai, UAE for the entire Middle East and North Africa region. Altitude Software has a track record of 22 years of customer and industry recognition and has won dozens of awards for innovation and tangible results with customers in key markets worldwide.